New Orleans has a rich and diverse culinary history. Of course, we have French and Cajun influences. And with an influx of immigrants in the late 19th century, there is also an Italian influence. Enter Central Grocery, circa 1906, and the Muffuletta. Traditionally, this is made on a large round Italian bread about the size of a dinner plate. The olive mix is the best part of this sandwich, so use whatever thick-crusted bread you want.
1 loaf of Italian round bread
1 cup olives, pitted and chopped (I use a combo of green and black olives)
1/4 cup of capers or chopped caper berries
1/2 cup giardiniera, chopped (Italian pickled vegetables)
1 tablespoon onions, minced
1 clove garlic, large, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 to 2 pounds of a combination of sliced deli meat, such as ham, mortadella, salami (I like an assortment of Fra’Mani Salumi)
4 slices provolone
4 slices mozzarella
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together olives, capers, caper berries, giardiniera, onions, garlic, ground pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and crushed red pepper. Cover and let sit for an hour or more.
- Cut bread in half horizontally. Brush each half with a little of the juice from the olive mix.
- Spread with olive mix on each half and then layer the meats and cheeses.
- Cover with loaf top. Slice into quarters and serve.